What they don't tell you about being a swimming teacher

When you become a swimming teacher you hear how it’s a fun job, how fulfilling it is seeing the swimmers progress and how there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when a swimmer does something by themselves for the first time and has this look of excitement and pride on their face. But there are some less glamourous aspects that those more experienced teachers forget to mention.

1. The hunger

No matter what I am always hungry after I’ve been teaching, whether it’s in the pool or out the pool. And I know it’s not just me. I’ve had so many teachers say to me ‘I’m so hungry’ during a teaching shift. When you’re teaching in the pool just walking in it burns a lot of calories, and teaching on poolside you’re constantly on your feet, so no wonder you get a bit peckish.

2. You turn into a climbing frame

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said ‘I’m not your climbing frame’ this week alone. Obviously if the swimmers are climbing on me, they’re comfortable with me, which is a good thing. But I can’t help feeling ganged up on when one starts, then they all join in, so I’ve got 4 swimmers hanging off me. Which then leads to…

3. Multiple bumps and bruises

Now I’m pretty accident prone, always bumping my arms and legs off tables, doors, cabinets etc, but I’m always finding bumps and bruises after I’ve been teaching. I’m always getting kicking in the ribs, stomach, on the leg, hit on the arm, chest, face. I’ve even had a black eye from a noodle before but that might just be me.

4. Smelling of chlorine becomes a normal thing

This may also just be me. I’ve gotten so used to smelling chlorine on my skin and my clothes that when I don’t smell it, it feels like something’s wrong. Pretty sure that might just be me.

5. Constant colds

Going in and out of the pool, or even just being on poolside, then going outside on a regular basis makes it very easy to catch a cold. Also working with children that cough, sneeze, spit water at you makes it very easy as well. It usually starts with a sore throat for me and, these days, the potential to lose my voice. It’s been about a month that I’ve been back teaching regularly and can already feel my voice threatening to run and hide.

But it’s just all part of being a swimming teacher. And, even though there’s times I feel like death warmed up and ache all over, I wouldn’t change it. It’s part of what makes this job unique.

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